The Haunting (1963)

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The Haunting (1963) Poster

Hill House has stood for about 90 years and appears haunted: its inhabitants have always met strange, tragic ends. Now Dr. John Markway has assembled a team of people who he thinks will prove whether or not the house is haunted.


7.5/10
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  • Russ Tamblyn in The Haunting (1963)
  • Richard Johnson and Lois Maxwell in The Haunting (1963)
  • Claire Bloom in The Haunting (1963)
  • Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963)
  • Claire Bloom and Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963)
  • Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


3 January 2003 | To'kun
More faithful to the book
After finding this gem at the public library's VHS section, I finally received the chance to watch the 'better' version of The Haunting. With what I could recall from reading the original novel (after seeing the modern version), I found this cinematic version infinately better and denser in character exposition than the 1999 version. In this 1963 version, the ending stayed closer to what happened in the novel and that was the definitive moment of The Haunting. I can't say much for the modern version, other than it was an effects film.

What I found original in this 1963 version is that there were some clever uses of lensing effects to heighten the strangeness of Hill House. By adjusting the props in the sets so that they are off by a few degrees, it helps to unsettle the viewer.

I'm hoping for a dvd release so that I can own both versions of the film. In the meantime, read the novel. There were a few details left out.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Wise was in post-production on West Side Story (1961) when he read a review in Time magazine of Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House. Wise read the book and found it frightening. He passed it to screenwriter friend Nelson Gidding, whom he had worked with on I Want to Live! (1958). Gidding did a full story treatment for Wise before proceeding to work on the adaptation


Quotes

Dr. John Markway: An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever ...


Goofs

When Nell leaves the Boston garage, we can see through her car's back window that there are two English policemen standing on a street corner.


Alternate Versions

The original cut of movie (shown 24/9/03 at Filmhouse, Edinburgh) has several differences from the general release print -

  • Alternate opening with voice-over by the Mrs. Sanderson character in place of the Markway monologue. The titles prior to this scene are slightly different. The 'History of Hill house' scene continues into the meeting with Mrs Sanderson and Markway but in this version, it is Sanderson who is doing most of talking.
  • The following scene from the general release print of Markway listing his subjects on a blackboard is missing. In its place is a scene where Theo throws her lover out her apartment and, next to a photo of her lover, writes "I Hate You!" on a mirror in lipstick, looks at her reflection and mutters "I hate you too...". She then receives her invitation from Markway. This is delivered to her by her landlady, who requires the excess postage to be paid. Theo already knows this is to be paid and there is humorous exchange concerning her ESP or her 'gift.'
  • There are several extended scenes involving Eleanor's 'inner thoughts' - most of which tie into her thoughts on her possible relationship with Markway. The scene showing her traveling to Hill house is extended with more 'inner monologue' material including a couple of shots of her turning onto 'Route 238' and commenting on "Journey's end in lovers meeting...".
  • The Morning/Harp scene runs longer and contains more dialogue from both Eleanor and Markway. This print had a title card prior to the MGM logo - "This print is on loan from the National Film and Television Archive."

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